Friday, July 20, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 20, 2018 PA leads nation in youth voter registration uptick


Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

PA leads nation in youth voter registration uptick


Pennsylvania leads nation in youth voter registration uptick, says Dem data firm analysis
Morning Call Capitol Ideas by Laura Olson Contact Reporter Call Washington Bureau July 19, 2018
Are young voters tuning in for this year’s midterm elections? They appear to be in the Keystone State. A new analysis of voter registration data found that Pennsylvania had the largest increase nationally in the share of new voter registrations that were from those between 18 and 29 years old. TargetSmart, a D.C.-based political data firm, compared voter registration figures from before and after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in February. In the 76 days before that shooting, 45 percent of new voter registrations were from applicants under the age of 30. Afterward, young voters accounted for 61 percent of new registrations, an increase of 16 percentage points. The later period — which went through May 1, two weeks before the primary election — saw 32,310 registrations from young voters, compared to 18,450 during the period before the shooting. Nationally, the share of the electorate younger than 30 years old grew by 2 percent, according to the analysis. “It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections,” TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier.
http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/capitol-ideas/mc-nws-pa-youth-voter-registration-increase-20180719-story.html

'You're a little young and naive,' Scott Wagner tells teen who asked about climate change
Ed Mahon, York Daily Record Published 1:09 p.m. ET July 19, 2018 | Updated 6:08 p.m. ET July 19, 2018
Wagner was responding to a question about climate change at a town hall in Montgomery County on Thursday, July 19. American Bridge 21st Century  Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, is getting attention for comments he made at a town hall in Montgomery County. When an 18-year-old woman asked Wagner about statements he made about climate change and about his contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Wagner replied: "Rose, you know what? I appreciate you being here. And you're 18 years old. And, you know, you're a little young and naive." That prompted laughs from someone in the crowd. For more on the exchange, including an interview with the woman who asked the question and the Wagner's campaign response, you can check out this report from PennLive.
https://www.ydr.com/story/news/2018/07/19/pa-2018-governors-race-scott-wagner-tells-teen-she-naive/800995002/

Gambling, smoking and drinking give Pa. a lot of money in 'sin taxes'
Penn Live By Jan Murphy | jmurphy@pennlive.com | Posted July 19, 2018 at 11:00 AM | Updated July 19, 2018 at 11:19 AM
Pennsylvania's reliance on taxes and fees on tobacco, alcohol and gambling to balance its budget is no secret. And its reliance on those so-called "sin taxes" is increasing as lawmakers avoid the more politically poisonous options of raising income or sales taxes. In 2015, these taxes accounted for 7.3 percent of the state's revenues,  according to a study released Thursday by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The "Are Sin Taxes Healthy for State Budgets?" study  looks at how Pennsylvania compares to other states -- and whether states can expect to keep relying on this revenue source. Pennsylvania ranks seventh among the 50 states for how much it relies on "sin tax" revenue, according to this report by The Pew Charitable Trusts and Rockefeller Institute of Government. According to PennWatch, state government's transparency website, cigarette, liquor, malt beverage and gambling taxes generated nearly $1.4 billion in 2014-15, the year that the study's authors used for their report.   With the addition in 2016-17 of a new tax on other tobacco products and higher cigarette tax, those revenue sources combined raised more than $1.85 billion, according to PennWatch. That figure dipped in  2017-18 by about $16 million.
https://www.pennlive.com/expo/news/erry-2018/07/dcd817bb9c4652/gambling-smoking-and-drinking.html#incart_river_index

“Franklin Towne is not alone. Philadelphia’s charter schools serve “disproportionately fewer of Pennsylvania’s vulnerable students than traditional public schools,” according to a recent analysis by the ELC. And those gaps are especially wide between special education students with inexpensive disabilities, who are common in Philadelphia charters, and those with expensive disabilities, who are relatively rare.”
Franklin Towne Charter accused of discriminating against special needs student
Education Law Center calls under-representation of students with disabilities a “citywide pattern.”
The notebook by Greg Windle July 19 — 1:37 pm, 2018
Pamela James was thrilled when her granddaughter was accepted at Franklin Towne Charter High School. Her granddaughter raced off to tell friends the good news, and James gave the school a copy of her granddaughter’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), which included the need for emotional support  a common but relatively expensive requirement among students in Philly schools. Hours later they were both shaken when James got a call from the Northeast Philadelphia school, informing her that her granddaughter could not attend as a result of her emotional disturbance diagnosis, that the class she needed was “full” and that the school would not accommodate her. “After I took her IEP to the school, that’s when they shot me down,” James said. “That was really ugly discrimination.” James was furious. No one at the school would return her calls, though she eventually received a brief letter restating that her daughter could not attend.  “I don’t understand how they’re able to do this,” James said. “They decided to change their mind because she needed emotional support.” At that point, James did not know it is illegal to deny a student attendance at a public school based on their special education status. But she would soon find out. The Education Law Center of Philadelphia has since taken up her cause, sending an open complaint letter to the schools’ lawyer.
http://thenotebook.org/articles/2018/07/19/franklin-towne-accused-of-discriminating-against-special-needs-student/

Double standard in measuring performance of Philly public schools
WHYY Opinion By Laurada Byers July 19, 2018
Laurada Byers is the co-founder of the Russell Byers Charter School and board president of Philadelphia Charters for Excellence.
Fair is fair. We support the School District of Philadelphia’s commitment to maintaining standards of academic quality. All of us as parents and citizens benefit from high-quality schools, and we should demand nothing less from those whose job is to educate our children. When it comes to enforcing these standards, all schools should be treated equally: We should identify and support good schools; and we should identify and fix — or close — bad schools. And there’s the problem. In promulgating the new Philadelphia Charter School Performance Framework to measure school quality, the school district employs a double standard. It holds charter schools to the standards of the framework, yet it completely ignores these same standards when assessing the performance of district-operated public schools. The framework and its implementation are so bizarre that it leads to a single conclusion: The district is rigging the game to limit the expansion of charter schools, while continuing to tolerate the failing conditions in far too many of its own neighborhood public schools.
https://whyy.org/articles/double-standard-in-measuring-performance-of-philly-public-schools/

“In Allegheny County, 3,532 children and youths experienced homelessness during the 2016-17 school year, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Education report. While homeless, most live doubled-up with relatives or friends, while others live in shelters or transitional housing according to the report. Homelessness also disproportionately affects low-income and non-white youths. Of the youngsters served by the Homeless Education Fund, 84 percent identify as non-white, said Krystle Morrison, the HCEF’s Manager of Educational Services.”
Five homeless youths receive $5,000 college scholarships
AMY QIN  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  JUL 19, 2018 7:55 PM
Tyrese Suttles just graduated from Pittsburgh Carrick High School this year, but he’s no stranger to homelessness. Growing up in the foster care system, there were times when Tyrese went back and forth between placements, “not even living anywhere, technically,” he said. Sometimes, the foster family that he was staying with would get evicted from their apartment and he would live in the back of a pickup truck or in someone else’s garage for months. “It was honestly the worst experience I could ever go through, and I understand how it feels for kids going through it now,” he said. Despite his circumstances, Tyrese has managed to excel in school and sports. He plans to attend Slippery Rock University in the fall and hopes to teach physical education to middle school students one day. Tyrese is one of five students selected by the Homeless Children’s Education Fund to receive the Hope Through Learning Award at a “graduation-style” ceremony on Thursday, outside the National Aviary on the North Side. The award is given to students who are going on to higher education and have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. This year, awardees will be given $5,000 over the course of two years to use for their education.
http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2018/07/19/homeless-youth-homeless-children-s-Education-Fund-college/stories/201807200006

Fact-finder assigned to Gateway to help resolve gridlocked teachers contract
Trib Live by DILLON CARR | Thursday, July 19, 2018, 2:27 p.m.
The state Labor Relations Board appointed a fact-finder recently to help advance sputtered contract talks between the Gateway teachers union and the school district. Fact-finder Michelle Miller-Kotula was appointed by the board at a meeting in Harrisburg July 17, according to union president and Gateway teacher Mark Spinola. Spinola said the process takes 40 days, at which point Miller-Kotula will issue a report. “Parties then have 10 days to accept or reject the report,” Spinola said. The union and school district are permitted to continue contract talks during the fact-finding process, but no meetings have been scheduled, said Mary Beth Cirucci, school board vice president and negotiations committee chair. Negotiations for a new contract began in January 2017 and the union has been working without a contract since its pact expired last August. The union voted to authorize a strike in March if negotiations continue to stall.
https://triblive.com/local/monroeville/13882145-74/fact-finder-assigned-to-gateway-to-help-resolve-gridlocked-teachers-contract

Is Stoneleigh safe? Lower Merion district buys nearby property for middle school
Inquirer by Kathy Boccella, Staff Writer  @Kathy_Boccella |  kboccella@phillynews.com Updated: JULY 19, 2018 — 12:07 PM EDT
The Lower Merion School District has agreed to purchase a 19th century Beaux Arts mansion to build a new middle school, which may indicate it is moving ahead with plans to take 6.9 acres of the recently opened Stoneleigh garden to use as athletic fields. The school board unanimously agreed to enter a formal agreement to purchase the 21.83-acre site from the Foundation for Islamic Education for $12 million contingent on a number of conditions, including that the district find nearby space for outdoor activities. District spokeswoman Amy Buckman said in an email, “The search for that space is ongoing, and no options have been taken ‘off the table.’” Lower Merion Township commissioners have already helped with another condition, killing a plan to upgrade the mansion’s historic resource classification from Class 2 to Class 1, which indicates greater historic value and offers more protection under Lower Merion’s historic preservation ordinance. The district had said it wouldn’t purchase the property with the upgraded classification.
But the issue of where to put athletic fields has roiled the Main Line township, where residents have come out in force to protect Stoneleigh, once the family home of John and Chara Haas, who deeded the property to Natural Lands for a public garden that took two years to create and that opened on Mother’s Day.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/stoneleigh-eminent-domain-lower-merion-school-district-purchase-property-middle-school-20180719.html


Become a PSBA Advocacy Ambassador
PSBA Website July 18, 2018
PSBA is seeking applications for three open Advocacy Ambassador positions. This is a part-time, 9-month (September 2018-May 2019) independent contractor position with a monthly stipend and potential renewal for a second year. The individuals should have previous experience in day-to-day functions of a school district — on the school board or in a school leadership position. The purpose of the PSBA Advocacy Ambassador program is to facilitate the education and engagement of local school directors and public education stakeholders. Each Advocacy Ambassador will be an active leader in an assigned section of the state and is kept up to date on current legislation and PSBA positions based on the association’s Legislative Platform and Priority Issues to accomplish advocacy goals.  The current open positions are for PSBA Section 1; Sections 3 and 4; and Section 8.  (see map).  Advocacy Ambassadors are independent contractors who serve as liaisons between PSBA and their state legislators, and who also work with local school officials in their section to advance PSBA’s public education advocacy mission. To complete the application process and upload required documents go to PSBA’s Career Gateway to create an account and apply. Career Gateway questions can be directed to Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450, x-3365.  Questions and information regarding the specific duties of the Advocacy Ambassador position should be directed to Jamie Zuvich at 717-506-2450, x-3375. The deadline to submit cover letter, resume and application is August 10, 2018.
All other required documents must be submitted upon successful application.
https://www.psba.org/2018/07/become-an-advocacy-ambassador/

PA Superintendent of the Year nominations requested by July 27th
PASA and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) are seeking nominations for 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. Candidates will be judged on the following criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. The nomination deadline is Friday, July 27. For more information, visit the AASA website, 
http://soy.aasa.org.


Apply Now for EPLC's 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now.
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or cowell@eplc.org.

SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.

Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018 
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!

Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 19, 2018 Low Moment for the US



Daily postings from the Keystone State Education Coalition now reach more than 4050 Pennsylvania education policymakers – school directors, administrators, legislators, legislative and congressional staffers, Governor's staff, current/former PA Secretaries of Education, Wolf education transition team members, superintendents, school solicitors, principals, charter school leaders, PTO/PTA officers, parent advocates, teacher leaders, business leaders, faith-based organizations, labor organizations, education professors, members of the press and a broad array of P-16 regulatory agencies, professional associations and education advocacy organizations via emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

These daily emails are archived and searchable at http://keystonestateeducationcoalition.org
Follow us on Twitter at @lfeinberg

Low Moment for the US


Trump's press conference with Putin was a low moment for the US and those of us who love this country [opinion]
Lancaster Online by THE LNP EDITORIAL BOARD Jul 17, 2018
THE ISSUE - President Donald Trump attended a NATO summit in Brussels last week, then made a short visit to England, where he met with British Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II. On Monday, he met Russian President Vladimir Putin in a one-on-one summit in Helsinki. His press conference with Putin left political observers — Republicans and Democrats alike — reeling. We don’t generally weigh in on international affairs, because our emphasis is on Lancaster County. But what took place over the past few days is important to Americans everywhere. First the positive: We are glad President Trump made his case for the member countries of NATO to increase their defense spending for the good of the alliance. His style left something to be desired, but his message landed. The not-so-good: In an interview with CBS on Saturday, Trump called the European Union a "foe." This isn’t so: The member countries of the EU — which include France, Germany, Ireland and, for now, Britain — are our allies, not our enemies. Now to the deeply unsettling: We were horrified when Trump — on the eve of his meeting with Putin, an autocrat who actually murders journalists — called the news media “the enemy of the people.” We are not enemies of the people. We are the people — parents, members of houses of worship, taxpayers, fellow citizens, your kids’ coaches, your neighbors. The president’s attack on journalists — two weeks after the massacre of five newspaper staffers in Annapolis, Maryland — was appalling. Even more disturbing, though, was Trump’s performance in his press conference Monday morning with Putin. It was a nightmare — a betrayal of this country we love.
https://lancasteronline.com/opinion/editorials/trump-s-press-conference-with-putin-was-a-low-moment/article_99093858-8954-11e8-9297-6f3703ab19b5.html

“A censure – of which there have been few precedents – would be a bipartisan official statement condemning the president’s behavior. The last successfully passed censure resolution was by the Senate, of Andrew Jacksonin 1834,  although there have been unsuccessful attempts to censure other presidents, including Trump. A censure of the president’s behavior in Helsinki would be a relatively simple way for a paralyzed partisan Congress to come together to reiterate the values of democracy  — and to remember it has the ability to act.”
Congress should censure Trump over Russia | Editorial
by The Inquirer Editorial Board Updated: JULY 17, 2018 — 5:26 PM EDT
All Americans should be alarmed at the behavior of President Trump in the past  week, not only in his excoriation of NATO and our Western allies, but in his startling deference and conciliation to Vladimir Putin on the question of Russia’s attack on our democracy. His refusal to address Putin publicly on the 12 Russians indicted for hacking Democrats’ computers and trying to disrupt the 2016 election, and his questioning of the very U.S. intelligence reports about those hacks has — despite an unconvincing attempt at a retraction on Tuesday — added grave damage to what Russia has already wrought. Trump’s startling admission that he questioned the work of U.S. intelligence to a leader hostile to this country, that he was open to Putin’s suggestion of a joint investigation and that both countries get blame, was not about “building a relationship” as Trump tried to justify afterwards.  It was an admission on the world stage that our president does not believe in his own government or his people. This is even more alarming in the context of what Trump won’t say – where his financial interests lie, and how they might be connected to Russia.
This behavior requires strong action. First, Congress should consider an official censure of the president.
http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/editorials/trump-censure-putin-russia-congress-20180717.html

Trump's Russia walk back was too little, too late | Editorial
By PennLive Editorial Board penned@pennlive.com Updated Jul 18, 2:14 PM; Posted Jul 18, 1:06 PM
(Editor's Note: The editorial below ran in Wednesday's editions of The Washington Post)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday tried to calm the wave of criticism that has pummeled him since his ignoble Monday news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. "I have full faith and support for America's great intelligence agencies," he said, a day after proving just the opposite. "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place," he continued, before extemporizing, "Could be other people also. A lot of people out there." In Helsinki, he called the Justice Department investigation into that interference "a disaster for our country." Trump's transparent effort at damage control - too little, too late, on the wrong continent - will not undo the damage he caused. Allies will believe his true feelings were revealed during his off-the-cuff remarks in Helsinki, not in the scripted backtracking he attempted after his countrymen found them contemptible - particularly because he could not even stick to the script. Those who can undo some of the damage sit at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Substantive, meaningful options are available. The question is whether Congress will move beyond tut-tutting and toward action that begins to restrain Mr. Trump.
https://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2018/07/trumps_russia_walk_back_was_to.html#incart_river_index

Toomey calls for automatic sanctions if Russians meddle with future elections
WITF Written by Rachel McDevitt | Jul 19, 2018 6:25 AM
 (Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's junior U.S. senator is calling for new sanctions on Russia in the wake of 12 intelligence officers being indicted on charges they hacked Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign. In a telephone town hall with little notice Wednesday morning, Republican Senator Pat Toomeysaid it is obvious Russia interfered in the 2016 election. He went further to say those actions must have had the approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Toomey said he is troubled by President Donald Trump's "blindness" to Putin's hostile acts against the United States and its allies. He said new sanctions should be imposed on the Russian government immediately because of the indictments. He's also supportive of proactive legislation to deter Russia from similar actions.  "I think we should pass legislation that would automatically impose a new round of sanctions that no president could block, in the event that Russia were to intervene in the next round of elections," Toomey said. "They need to understand they're going to pay a price that's too steep for them to want to go down this road again."
http://www.witf.org/news/2018/07/toomey-calls-for-automatic-sanctions-if-russians-meddle-with-future-elections.php

New state law potentially pits transparency against school safety
Lancaster Online by ALEX GELI | Staff Writer July 19, 2018
School board members must walk a fine line between transparency and school safety in response to a new law. Legislation sponsored by state Rep. Bryan Cutler, of Peach Bottom, that allows school boards to enter executive session to discuss safety and security matters was approved by Gov. Tom Wolf on June 22. While school board members welcome the opportunity to discuss sensitive information that could ultimately wind up in the wrong hands, open meetings advocates are wary of the law’s implementation. “It does not give school boards unfettered discretion to discuss everything behind closed doors,” said Melissa Melewski, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. Melewsky said she’s observed “issues of overapplication and misapplication” pertaining to executive sessions, which should be used “only when absolutely necessary.” School board members interviewed by LNP say they support the measure and will be careful not to violate the Sunshine Act, the state’s open meetings law. “As a school board president, I want to be very cautious that we don’t violate the Sunshine Act,” Elizabethtown Area school board President Terry Seiders said. However, there are certain safety and security measures that shouldn’t be discussed in a public setting, he said.
https://lancasteronline.com/news/local/new-state-law-potentially-pits-transparency-against-school-safety/article_4ee7b8a6-8ac8-11e8-b135-af6745457cb7.html

PIAA directors approve major transfer, classification reforms
Lancaster Online by MIKE GROSS | Sports Writer July 18, 2018
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Directors voted competitive-balance reform into reality Wednesday. At a meeting in State College, the directors approved two major changes to its by-laws, both recommendations of the PIAA’s Competition Committee: *A new formula for placing schools in classes for postseason play. The formula will include enrollment, a success factor that would assign teams points based on postseason performance, and a “penalty,’’ for accepting transfers, by sport, that equal or exceed one less than half the starting lineup in that sport. *An amendment to the transfer rule that makes transfers after 10th grade ineligible for the postseason (district playoffs and beyond) for one year from the date of transfer. The transfer rule passed by a 27-2 vote. Elco athletic director Doug Bohannon, a member of the board of vice-chairman on District Three, said the enrollment-formula vote was by a similar margin. “It wasn’t close at all,’’ Bohannon said. “I’d say the support (for both changes) was overwhelming.’’ The board’s standard protocol is to put amendments through first-, second- and third-reading votes. Both changes were only at the second-reading stage going into Wednesday, but the directors opted to suspend protocol and make the vote final. “That didn’t really surprise me,’’ said PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi. “This is the last meeting before the start of the school year, and I think the feeling was get the information out there. And also there’s the matter of getting started on the enforcement piece of this.’’ Schools will begin compiling success points and having their transfers counted this fall. Actual classification under the new system will begin in the fall of 2020.
https://lancasteronline.com/sports/highschool/piaa-directors-approve-major-transfer-classification-reforms/article_e32fe11a-8ae5-11e8-8b30-b7156294487e.html

Centre County schools question the PIAA’s new rules to even the playing field
Centre Daily Times BY LAUREN MUTHLER lmuthler@centredaily.com July 18, 2018 08:06 PM
In an effort to address growing pressure about competitive unfairness between public and private, Catholic and charter schools, the PIAA passed stricter transfer rules at its board meeting Wednesday at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel.  But some local public school officials don’t think the new rules will be enough to level the playing field. Effective Aug. 6, student-athletes in grades 10-12 who transfer schools must prove hardship or be required to sit out during that year’s postseason. With protocol suspended, the motion passed 26-2 and will apply to transfers in the upcoming school year. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s board also voted for a competitive balance formula for football and basketball, which would make teams with higher numbers of transfers and continued playoff success move up a classification.  Under the new rules, transfers for academic, developmental, spiritual or social reasons do not fall under the exemption that covers moves for legal, financial, military or job changes, and those wishing to change schools for those reasons must demonstrate that the transfer was necessitated by “exceptional and unusual circumstances” and that imposing the restriction would “create a particular hardship to the student.”
https://www.centredaily.com/sports/high-school/article215085255.html#storylink=mainstage

Philly principals get an education on keeping LGBT kids safe
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag |  kgraham@phillynews.com Updated: JULY 18, 2018 — 10:37 AM EDT
What if a student is transgender and doesn’t want their parents to know? Why is having your second graders divide up into “boys” and a “girls” lines potentially harmful to children? In week one of the Philadelphia School District’s bootcamp for new principals, the focus was systems and organization. This week, the 18 people preparing to take over management roles in schools around the city tackled leadership. On Tuesday, they talked about creating safe environments for LGBT students. With more than half of all gay, lesbian and transgender students nationwide saying they feel unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 43 percent saying they feel unsafe because of their gender expression, the discussion feels vital, said Lauren Overton and Michael Farrell, the two veteran principals who led the discussion.  “As school leaders, you have an opportunity to change the trajectory for a child,” said Overton, principal of Meredith Elementary in Queen Village. “That child may not have the most supportive home life.” The school system in 2016 passed a sweeping policy that protects transgender and gender non-conforming students, requiring schools to allow students to use the bathroom or locker room of their choice and be referred to as the pronoun of their choice, among other things.
http://www.philly.com/philly/education/philly-principals-education-safety-lgbt-kids-20180718.html

Court gives Philly - and its kids - some sugar in soda tax victory | Editorial  
by The Inquirer Editorial Board Updated: JULY 19, 2018 — 5:00 AM EDT
In upholding Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax Wednesday, the state Supreme Court did something even more important – it upheld the city’s ability to determine its own destiny. Philadelphia passed a 1.5-cents-an-ounce beverage tax in 2016 for revenue to address some of its most pressing problems — by providing prekindergarten to thousands of children and fixing up its long-neglected parks, recreation centers, and libraries. Opponents,  including bottlers and grocers, argued that the city had no legal right to pass the tax, but the court determined that the tax complies with the Sterling Act, which allows Philadelphia to impose taxes on items not already taxed by the state.   With other cities eyeing similar taxes on sugary beverages,  though not necessarily for the same reasons,  this decision is likely to have wide impact. Improving education alone is a good reason to support  the tax,  but it also will finance the Rebuild program, an ambitious plan to fix libraries, playgrounds, and parks in every neighborhood in Philadelphia.   That’s a powerful investment in the people of the city.
http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/editorials/pennsylvania-supreme-court-upholds-philadelphia-soda-tax-editorial-20180719.html

Easton school board approves smart card for attendance, security
Michelle Merlin Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call July 17, 2018
By the end of next school year, Easton’s students will be used to swiping their ID cards to get into buildings and get on and off the bus. Easton Area school board members Tuesday agreed to use a technology provided by ScholarChip of Hicksville, N.Y., that enables students to use smart cards — their regular ID cards— for bus attendance, as library cards and even potentially when they purchase food in the cafeteria. Students at the middle and high school will swipe their ID cards at kiosks at the school when they walk in. Nonstudent visitors at all the district’s schools will also have to check in, and ScholarChip will cross-reference their IDs with district information and national databases to see if the visitors might have any protections from abuse orders, custody agreements or sexual offense convictions.  The kiosks will be manned by security personnel who will verify that the person who swiped in is, in fact, the person who the ID card belongs to.  “I think it will have a significant impact not only on school safety, but from an operations standpoint,” said Assistant Superintendent Alyssa Emili. ScholarChip will also synch with the district’s attendance system.
http://www.mcall.com/news/education/mc-nws-easton-schools-scholarchip-20180717-story.html

“According to an analysis of tax filings by the web site Conservative Transparency, the top contributors to the Mackinac Center specifically include the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, and the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative (formerly the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation). These are the family foundations of the U.S. education secretary, Betsy DeVos, and her husband's parents. DeVos reported resigning her position on the board of directors of her family foundation as of December 2016, before her confirmation as education secretary. Greg McNeilly, a spokesman for DeVos in her non-governmental capacity, says the DeVos family supports the Mackinac Center and similar organizations "because of their mainstream common commitment to freedom, the most universal civil liberty." The Mackinac Center did not return calls and emails requesting comment.”
Behind The Campaign To Get Teachers To Leave Their Unions
NPR by ANYA KAMENETZ July 19, 20185:29 AM ET
Rachael McRae, a fifth-grade teacher in central Illinois, was sitting on the couch the other day with her four-month-old when she saw the email. "He was having a fussy day," she says, "so I was bouncing him in one arm, and started going through my emails on my phone, just to feel like I was getting something done." In her spam folder, she found an email from an organization called My Pay, My Say, urging her to drop her union membership. Last month, the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFCSME dealt a major blow to public sector unions. The court ruled that these unions cannot collect money, known as agency fees, from nonmembers who are covered by collective bargaining agreements. Organizations on both sides across the country sprung into action. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, based in Michigan, is running My Pay, My Say as a national campaign. The Freedom Foundation, headquartered in Washington state, is targeting teachers in Oregon, Washington and California with the slogan, Opt Out Today. Other groups targeting teachers and public employees in specific states include: the Commonwealth Foundation, the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, the Center of the American Experiment, the Center for Union Facts and Americans for Prosperity. The outreach tactics include paper mail, phone calls, emails, hotlines, Facebook ads, billboards, TV advertising and even door-to-door canvassing. Organizations are using publicly available email addresses to reach their targets, as well as purchasing mailing lists.
https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/07/19/628130197/behind-the-campaign-to-get-teachers-to-leave-their-unions?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=npred

Share of Federal Spending on Children Projected to Shrink, New Report Says
By Andrew Ujifusa on July 18, 2018 12:01 AM
The share of federal spending that goes to programs and other benefits for children, including education funding, is expected to decline by more than 25 percent over the next decade, according to a new report published Wednesday by the Urban Institute. "Kids' Share" projects that Washington's budget for health, nutrition, tax provisions, and education spending on children will drop from 9.4 percent of the fiscal 2017 budget to 6.9 percent after 10 years, a decline of 27 percent from 2017 levels. The Urban Institute expects spending on elementary and secondary education  to dip to $37 billion from $42 billion, and for early-childhood education to drop to $14 billion from $15 billion, after adjusting for inflation. However, the organization also predicts spending on children's health and income security is expected to rise somewhat in the coming years. And the report says the recent decline in discretionary spending on education can be pinned at least in part on the Budget Control Act of 2011, which brought sequestration and new caps on federal spending. From 2008 to 2017, federal education spending dipped by 9 percent, the Urban Institute says. (See more about that figure below.)
http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2018/07/federal_spending_children_education_projected_to_shrink.html

Blogger note: here’s a perspective by an educator in the Lakewood Ohio SD that was impacted by the online charter, ECOT:
“Today’s colonizers are hedge fund managers, who “invest” in charter schools as real estate, playing an insiders speculation game at the expense of our local taxpayers and the students they support. They are Charter School “entrepreneurs” who see public education as a cash cow. For example, ECOT, an online charter school with a low graduation rate and shady accounting practices, managed to drain over $8,000,000 dollars from the Columbus City Schools alone, money that should have been spent according to community needs and priorities—school nurses, music programs--rather than profits for founder William Lager to partially “reinvest” in state representatives. ECOT diverted $294,420 from the Lakewood City Schools last year, and total losses to charter schools were $1,196,974.”
Charter Schools--A New Form Of Colonialism
The Lakewood Observer Letter by Chuck Greanoff July 3, 2018
Manifest Destiny and Charter Schools—two seemingly disparate phenomena with no obvious parallels. Yet, that didn’t stop New Mexico’s Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski from extolling the virtues of both, as quintessentially American. “This is a country built over the last 250 years on things like freedom, choice, competition, options, going west, Manifest Destiny — these are the fundamental principles of this country,” he was reported as saying by the Albuquerque Journal and The Answer Sheet in the Washington Post. “That’s why charter schools make so much sense — high-quality options — in the context of where we are as a country.” Now, if you are an Arapaho or Cheyenne whose ancestors were slaughtered at Sand Creek—or, perhaps a human with empathy—you might not celebrate Manifest Destiny and all that it entailed. But maybe Ruszkowski has a point. In fact, I think he does; “Manifest Destiny” and Charter Schools do have quite a bit in common. At base, both seek the dispossession of local, community resources to be liquidated and/or turned over to private entities seeking profits. Both promote a neoliberal agenda—shared by elites in both of our major political parties—that removes the public from any meaningful decision-making about the allocation of public resources. Students, families, teachers, schools and communities are treated like economic resources to be colonized, rather than respected as sovereign, human entities. When the Treaty of Fort Laramie was disregarded by the US –after gold was found in the Black Hills—Lakota Tribal sovereignty and resources were brazenly taken, with no regard for people, only profits and land possession. Unfortunately, public schools are among the 21st Centuries’ newer frontiers for colonization.
http://lakewoodobserver.com/read/2018/07/03/charter-schoolsa-new-form-of-colonialism


Become a PSBA Advocacy Ambassador
PSBA Website July 18, 2018
PSBA is seeking applications for three open Advocacy Ambassador positions. This is a part-time, 9-month (September 2018-May 2019) independent contractor position with a monthly stipend and potential renewal for a second year. The individuals should have previous experience in day-to-day functions of a school district — on the school board or in a school leadership position. The purpose of the PSBA Advocacy Ambassador program is to facilitate the education and engagement of local school directors and public education stakeholders. Each Advocacy Ambassador will be an active leader in an assigned section of the state and is kept up to date on current legislation and PSBA positions based on the association’s Legislative Platform and Priority Issues to accomplish advocacy goals.  The current open positions are for PSBA Section 1; Sections 3 and 4; and Section 8.  (see map).  Advocacy Ambassadors are independent contractors who serve as liaisons between PSBA and their state legislators, and who also work with local school officials in their section to advance PSBA’s public education advocacy mission. To complete the application process and upload required documents go to PSBA’s Career Gateway to create an account and apply. Career Gateway questions can be directed to Michelle Kunkel at 717-506-2450, x-3365.  Questions and information regarding the specific duties of the Advocacy Ambassador position should be directed to Jamie Zuvich at 717-506-2450, x-3375. The deadline to submit cover letter, resume and application is August 10, 2018.
All other required documents must be submitted upon successful application.
https://www.psba.org/2018/07/become-an-advocacy-ambassador/

PA Superintendent of the Year nominations requested by July 27th
PASA and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) are seeking nominations for 2019 Pennsylvania Superintendent of the Year. Candidates will be judged on the following criteria: leadership for learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement. The nomination deadline is Friday, July 27. For more information, visit the AASA website, 
http://soy.aasa.org.


Apply Now for EPLC's 2018-2019 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Applications are available now for the 2018-2019 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP).  The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). 
With more than 500 graduates in its first eighteen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.
Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization. The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 13-14, 2018 and continues to graduation in June 2019.
Applications are being accepted now.
Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program.
The application may be copied from the EPLC web site, but must be submitted by mail or scanned and e-mailed, with the necessary signatures of applicant and sponsor.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Fellowship Program and its requirements, please contact EPLC Executive Director Ron Cowell at 717-260-9900 or cowell@eplc.org.


SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

2nd Annual National Black Male Educators Convening, Oct. 12-14, Philly
Teacher diversity works. Increasing the number of Black male educators in our nation’s teacher corps will improve education for all our students, especially for African-American boys.Today Black men represent only two percent of teachers nationwide. This is a national problem that demands a national response. Come participate in the 2nd National Black Male Educators Convening to advance policy solutions, learn from one another, and fight for social justice. All are welcome. Register to attend. Nominate a speaker. Propose a workshop. Sponsor the event.

Save the Dates PASA/PSBA School Leadership Conference – Hershey, Oct. 17-19, 2018 
Mark your calendar! The Delegate Assembly will take place Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Housing now open!

Our Public Schools Our Democracy: Our Fight for the Future
NPE / NPE Action 5th Annual National Conference
October 20th - 21st, 2018 Indianapolis, Indiana
We are delighted to let you know that you can purchase your discounted Early Bird ticket to register for our annual conference starting today. Purchase your ticket here.
Early Bird tickets will be on sale until May 30 or until all are sold out, so don't wait.  These tickets are a great price--$135. Not only do they offer conference admission, they also include breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and brunch on Sunday. Please don't forget to register for your hotel room. We have secured discounted rates on a limited basis. You can find that link here. Finally, if you require additional financial support to attend, we do offer some scholarships based on need. Go here and fill in an application. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Please join us in Indianapolis as we fight for the public schools that our children and communities deserve. Don't forget to get your Early Bird ticket here. We can't wait to see you.


Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.